The chief of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, Kyrylo Budanov, has said that while there are many options for deoccupying Crimea, this is unachievable without military action.
Ukrainian forces are now capable of hitting any part of the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, he said in an interview with Radio Liberty. Budanov stressed that Ukraine can reach the enemy in Crimea virtually anywhere.
Those Crimean residents who are waiting for Ukraine to return should prepare and help the intelligence agencies.
"Those who did something stupid should leave. And those who are waiting should prepare and do everything to help the intelligence agencies, first of all, and later on too, when the troops enter openly. To support them, to create favourable conditions. To make it happen as quickly as possible. And as bloodlessly as possible," he said.
In December, Budanov said that Crimea would be returned by force and diplomacy. But our units "will go there with weapons in hand".
Crimean residents can report Russian equipment to the Ukrainian intelligence via a chatbot. This, as the agency said, could speed up the deoccupation of Crimea.
Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine was not going to exchange Crimea for membership in any alliances.
Explosions at Russian facilities in Crimea seized since 2014 are becoming more frequent. In particular, yesterday the Ukrainian intelligence confirmed the destruction of an S-400 surface-to-air missile system and the damage to a Bastion mobile coastal defence missile system.